Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 293 - Hellboy

Hellboy (2004) directed by Guillermo Del Toro

Hellboy is a comic book movie starring an uncommon hero, a man/creature from the depths of hell here to save mankind. He is bright red with horns and a tail and if he weren't out saving kittens he could easily be confused for the devil himself. Curiously the film does not dwell much on the internal struggle that must exist in the heart of a spawn from hell; we sort of just except that he is a generally soft spoken mild mannered hero. I would have loved for the film to further explore the possibility that HB is a hero because he chooses to be despite a true evil nature, the whole conflicted hero angle bit. It would actually make his relationship with his father, the man who discovered him and raised him as his own, more touching and meaningful because then we could see what a positive effect he has on HB's life. Despite his appearance and origin, he seems far too normal. Of course, all of this is explored in the very last minutes of the film when HB must decide whether he wants to be a hero or the harbinger of evil, but it almost seems like an afterthought and we never truly expect him to turn.

Despite Hellboy's potentially dark nature, the film is actually very light hearted and plays out more like a traditional comic book. There is action, there is humor, and a surprising amount of love and the staple of any good story of good vs. evil, Nazis. (Ever notice how many movies have Nazis as bad guys?) I actually kind of feel like this movie is a little too light hearted, not that there's anything wrong with a rock em sock'em action comedy, but it sort of limits the film's potential.

As you can see from Ron Pearlman's costume and the monsters that HB has to fight, special effects play a big role in the movie. They are merely adequate in my opinion and much of the stuff going on looks a little, well, cartoonish, which was probably the intention all along.

All in all, I thought Hellboy was decent comic book fun.

Grade: B-

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